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MILK: A Healthy Calorie intake

for children

We, the Black and Minority Ethnic women are taught by our mothers the benefits of breastmilk which makes us breastfeed for a long time, but at thesame time we are not taught which milk drink is suitable and which is not.


Milk is a white or creamy-white liquid secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals, serving for the nourishment of their young before they are able to digest other types of food.


Milk is a good source of calcium, a mineral that helps build and maintain healthy bones.

It also contains vitamins and other minerals, and does not cause tooth decay.


Young children need the concentrated energy provided by fat in their diet. Parents should increase giving healthy fat from oily fish, milk, yoghurt and cheese, and reduce unhealthy fat from burgers, sausages, pies, biscuits, crisps and cake.


"The best drinks for children aged over one year old are water or milk. Cow’s milk is not suitable as a drink until your baby is 12 months old."


You’ll find that as your baby eats more solid foods, the amount of milk they want will start to decrease.


Suitable and Unsuitable Drinks

Not all milk is suitable for feeding babies. You should never give the following types of milk to a baby under one year: condensed milk,  evaporated milk, dried milk,  sheep’s milk,  goat’s milk,  other types of drinks known as ‘milks’, such as rice, oat or almond drinks.


The following list explains what you should give to your child and when.


• Breast milk: this is the ideal drink for babies in the first six months and beyond, alongside an increasingly varied diet.


• Infant formula: it's usually based on cows’ milk and it's the only alternative to breast milk in the first 12 months of your baby’s life. It can be used up to the time when ordinary cows’ milk can be introduced (at one year old) or after.


• Non-cows' milk formula: only use soya-based infant formulas if your GP advises it. Babies who are allergic to cows’ milk may also be allergic to soya.


• Cows' milk: Use full-fat milk (whole milk) from the age of 12 months to two years. Whole cows’ milk doesn’t contain enough iron and other nutrients to meet babies’ needs. It shouldn’t be given as a drink to babies under one year old. It’s fine to use cows' milk when cooking and preparing food for your baby. Semi-skimmed milk can be introduced once your child is two years old, provided they're a good eater and have a varied diet. Skimmed milk is not suitable for children under five. For convenience, lower-fat milks can be used in cooking from the age of one.


• Goats’ and sheep’s milk and drinks made from oats: these are not suitable as drinks for babies under one year old as they don’t contain the iron and other nutrients babies need. As long as they're pasteurized, they can be used once your baby is one year old.


• Rice milk: young children (under five years) should not be given rice drinks as they contain inorganic arsenic. If your child has already had rice drinks, there's no immediate risk of harmful effects. However, they shouldn't have any more drinks of this kind in the future.


• ‘Good night’ milk: not suitable for babies under six months old. You can start using it after this age, but you don’t have to as there are no proven health benefits.


• Water: fully breastfed babies don’t need any water until after they’ve started eating solid food. Bottle-fed babies may need some extra water in hot weather. For babies under six months, use water from the mains tap in the kitchen that's been boiled then cooled. Water for babies over six months doesn’t need to be boiled. If you have to use bottled water, choose one labeled as suitable for infants or which has less than 200mg of sodium per liter. Bottled water is not sterile, so it will need to be boiled and cooled if you’re giving it to a baby under six months.


• Fruit juices: fruit juices, such as orange juice or grapefruit juice, are a good source of vitamin C. They also contain natural sugars and acids, which can cause tooth decay. Babies under six months shouldn’t drink fruit juices. Vitamin C helps your baby to absorb iron. If your baby is vegetarian, you may be advised to give them diluted fruit juice (one part juice to 10 parts boiled, cooled water) with their meals after six months. (Give this at mealtimes to prevent tooth decay.)


• Squashes, flavored milk, fruit drinks and fizzy drinks: these contain sugar and can cause tooth decay even when diluted. They're not suitable for young babies. For older babies and toddlers, these drinks can lead to poor appetite, limited weight gain and, in toddlers, diarrhea. Even those drinks that have artificial sweeteners can encourage children to develop a sweet tooth.


In conclusion, milk is a good source of calcium, vitamins and minerals. And also a healthy calorie intake for children when given appropriately at the right age and time.

By ‘The Healthy Wellbeing’



1.Birth to Five, NHS Choices

Accessed 22/09/2011


2.Drinks, NHS Choices

Accessed 21/09/2011


3.Kid’s Teeth Q & A, NHS Choices

Accessed 22/09/2011


4.Milk and dairy products, NHS Choices

Accessed 20/09/2011


5.Milk Definition,

Accessed 20/09/2011


6.Start 4 Life,

Accessed 20/09/2011


7.Underweight Younger Children, NHS Choices

Accessed 21/09/2011


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